I have always considered mothers to be the quiet heroes of our lives. There is truly nothing like a mother’s love. I credit my own mother with so much good in my life, right down to my career choice. We did not have a lot of money growing up, but Mom was generous with the little we had. She was genuine in her desire to help others, reaching out to anyone in need. She taught me about community and compassion through her everyday actions. When I started working at Catholic Charities more than two decades ago, she was thrilled — and so was I. I am fortunate to be a part of the Catholic Charities community, where I can live out my faith and the values instilled in me since birth. What I love most about Catholic Charities is that all we do is a true community effort. Our staff, board members, volunteers, donors and parish partners all play important roles in improving lives. Nearly 60 percent of the people served by Catholic Charities are women. During this past year, my heart has swelled with even greater esteem for mothers, as the responsibilities and stresses of motherhood have increased tenfold. Keeping family members healthy, fed, on-task with schoolwork and supported amid fear and uncertainty has been an intrepid undertaking. For the women we help at Catholic Charities, the challenges have been even greater. The impact of the pandemic on people already facing poverty, food insecurity, mental health challenges and a lack of health care has been devastating, particularly for women of color, who have experienced higher rates of infection, more loss of life and greater job losses. My dear mother passed away in 2016. I can’t help but think about how her generous spirit would have responded to the great community needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, and how she would implore me to ensure that Catholic Charities continues to be equipped to act. Your gift to Catholic Charities Mother’s Day Collection will help us do just that. Contributions can be made during the second collection in your parish, at catholiccharities.net, or by mailing your gift to Catholic Charities, 721 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60654.